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Homosexuality: The Biblical Witness

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  • KNOXVILLE - by James R. Aist

    “The Bible does say that homosexual acts are, in and of themselves, sinful.”

    Introduction

    Let me begin this article with a reminder that God does not categorize people as heterosexuals and homosexuals, as we do. Rather, He sees us all as His beloved sons and daughters who all need to repent and to be cleansed of our sins, whatever those sins may be. Same-sex attraction is a powerful temptation, but biblically speaking, it is not a sin. To have such attractions is akin to a married heterosexual man having opposite-sex attractions to women other than his wife. These attractions are temptations to sin and nothing more; they are not sin, although they would lead to sin if acted upon. Same-sex attractions are apparently not something that anyone chooses. Rather they seem to occur in homosexual persons without their volition or intent. This is an important distinction that Christians need to be aware of. The Bible condemns homosexual sex acts, but it does not condemn the experience of being tempted by same-sex attractions. If the Bible did condemn the experience of being tempted, then Jesus would not have been without sin, would He? Heterosexual people also have very strong temptations to commit sexual sins, because of their opposite-sex attractions. Either kind of temptation can lead to sin, if one chooses to act on it. And God’s solution for sin is the same for homosexual people as it is for heterosexual people: “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) and “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32). There is only one Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is for both homosexual people and heterosexual people alike.

    The Biblical Witness: Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexual Acts

    The Bible identifies several kinds of sexual sin, including fornication, adultery, incest and homosexuality. Homosexual behavior is unequivocally and consistently portrayed in the Bible as sin (Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10). The biblical witness on this point could not be any clearer. Most importantly, the Bible declares that “the wicked”, including unrepentant “homosexual offenders”, “…will not inherit the kingdom of God…” (I Corinthians 6:9-10), and it goes on to say that “the wicked” were all washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 6:11). So think about it: if God really made some people homosexual, approved of homosexual behavior, and wanted them to remain gay, then why did He change them in the name (“name”: literally, power and authority) of the Lord Jesus Christ? I think you and I both know why He changed them. And if Jesus approved of homosexual behavior and wanted them to remain gay, how could they have been changed by His own power and authority? Obviously, Jesus himself wanted them to be changed. Why? Because the homosexual offenders were wicked (I Corinthians 6:11). Jesus did not come to save us and our sins, but to save us from our sins. Gay theology would have you believe that these verses really do not apply to the loving, committed and enduring homosexual relationships we hear about today, but those arguments have been thoroughly refuted with sound arguments and biblical scholarship (click HERE).

    Some in the modern Christian church claim that Jesus did not condemn homosexual acts as sin. While the Bible does not record Jesus singling out homosexual acts per se, as sexual sins, one of His teachings, as recorded by Matthew and Mark, implies that He did consider them to be sin: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…” (Matthew 15:19-20) and “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23). The Greek word translated “sexual immorality” in both accounts is “porneia”, which, according to Strong’s Concordance, refers to all forms of illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality and incest. It would be presumptuous, at best, to conclude that, out of all the sexual sins that this Greek word refers to, Jesus meant to exclude homosexual acts. If He had meant to exclude homosexual acts from the list, He could have said something like “…sexual immorality (“porneia”), except homosexuality (“arsenokoites”),…”, but He didn’t. The implication, from the context, is that He meant to include homosexual acts among the sins to which He was referring. If this implication is not correct, then Jesus — the man who is also the Divine Son of the all-knowing God — did not say what He meant and therefore mislead His hearers! I would suggest that if you believe that about Jesus, then you may just believe in a “different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

    The argument that Jesus never said anything specifically about homosexual acts, and that therefore He must not condemn it, presumes that the words of Jesus are more authoritative than the words of Scripture elsewhere and that Jesus does not agree with what the other writers of the Bible have to say about homosexuality. But it is the Holy Spirit of God who inspired all of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16), including epistles like Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy, where homosexuality is specifically and directly addressed and condemned. Moreover, Jesus and the Holy Spirit co-exist in the Godhead — in fact, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:9 )  and have been in perfect and eternal communion and harmony all along. Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus agrees with everything the Holy Spirit revealed in the Bible about moral issues, including homosexuality.

    The Biblical Witness: Indirect Evidence that Homosexual Behavior is Sin

    Homosexual behavior is sin because it is contrary to the principles of human sexual behavior that God established in the beginning. God created mankind “…male and female…” (Genesis 1:27) and said “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:28). Obviously, God’s original, created plan is for heterosexual, not homosexual, relations. Moreover, when God set about to cure Adam’s loneliness and provide a suitable helper for him (Genesis 2:18), “God made a woman…” for Adam (Genesis 2:22), not a man. God’s plan is that “…a man will…be united to his wife…” (Genesis 2:24), not a man to a man or a woman to a woman. The apostle Paul affirmed heterosexual behavior as “natural” and homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (Romans 1:26-27), in agreement with the Genesis account.

    Furthermore, one can deduce that Jesus considered homosexual behavior to be sin, from His stated belief that the Old Testament, which labels it as “detestable” and commands us not to do it, is the infallible and everlasting Word of God (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35). And, in John 17:17, Jesus, speaking at that time of the Old Testament, declared to God the Father, “…your word is truth.” This “truth” includes Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. We can know that Jesus taught that homosexual behavior is sin, because, in referring to the Law and the Prophets (which includes Leviticus), Jesus declared, “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same …will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20). And Jesus confirmed that the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners, including homosexual people, is hell when He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus did not come to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. In view of the direct command of God to refrain from homosexual behavior (Leviticus 18:22), it is obvious that such behavior violates the explicit will of God and therefore, according to Jesus’ own words, disqualifies unrepentant homosexual people from heaven.

    Challenge

    If you are a Christian who believes that the Bible, and Jesus, don’t really say that homosexual behavior is sin, then you may want to check out the Bible verses above and the references and links (below) for yourself and re-think that. And here’s how you can do a study of the Hebrew and Greek root words used in the Bible to express God’s views on homosexuality, without being a Hebrew or Greek scholar: 1) download the free “Online Bible” and save it on your computer; 2) select the “AV” Bible version; 3) select “Strong’s” to add Strong’s concordance directly to the displayed text; 4) look up each of the following Bible passages…Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10; 5) hold your cursor over the number for each key word, and the definitions, in English, of each Hebrew or Greek word in the verse will pop up in a small window. You will find, as expected, that wherever homosexual behavior is mentioned, it is consistently condemned as sin, abomination, perversion, etc. And understand that later English versions of the Bible, such as the NIV, consulted the ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, rather than relying on the AV. The claims of gay activists that the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior is nothing but pure fantasy and wishful thinking, as you can see for yourself.

    The Biblical Witness: Homosexual Orientation Is Not from God!

    Some homosexuality advocates claim that homosexual people are not only born gay, but that God created them that way (with same-sex attractions). However, such a claim is diametrically opposed to the biblical witness; there are scriptural proofs that God is not the source of the same-sex attractions and desires that homosexual people experience. Firstly, the Bible clearly and consistently condemns homosexual behavior as sin (Genesis 19:5 with Jude 1:7; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:10). Now, if God himself were to instill same-sex attractions and desires into homosexual people, then, by doing so, He would be tempting them to sin sexually. However, the Bible also states, emphatically, that God does not tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13-14). The necessary conclusion is that the God of the Bible would not create anyone homosexual, because to do so would violate His very nature and character, which is to hate sin. And secondly, after God had created Adam and Eve as heterosexual people, the Bible says that “God saw all that he made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). “All that He had made” could not have included homosexuality, because the Bible clearly and consistently condemns homosexual behavior as evil, not good. And that — the creation of Adam and Eve –- was “the last of the work of creation that God was doing” (Genesis 2:2). It follows, then, that God not only would not, but also did not, create anyone homosexual. Homosexuality must have first appeared at some later time, after God had finished creating.

    Since same-sex attractions and desires do not come from God, where do they come from? The Bible says that sin entered the world through the “original sin” of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-19) after the last of the work of creation that God was doing (Genesis 2:2), and that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:14). Thus, same-sex sexual attraction (i.e., homosexuality) is a result of sin entering the world through the disobedience of Adam.

    Biblical Warnings and Rebukes

    I would guess that very few Christians are aware that the Bible has stern rebukes and dire warnings for those who approve of sin or encourage others to sin, but it does (Leviticus 19:1; Isaiah 5:20; Malachi 2:17; Matthew 5:19-20; Matthew 18:6; Romans 14:22). Thus, anyone, including born-again Christians, who even approves of or encourages the sins of homosexuality will, someday, have to answer to God for it.

    (For more articles by Professor Aist on HOMOSEXUALITY, click HERE)

    References Cited:

    Dallas, J. 1991b. Desires in Conflict. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. pp. 267-282.

    Davies, B. & L. Rentzel. 1993. Coming Out of Homosexuality. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. pp. 183-189.

    Recommended links:

    Gagnon, R. 2003. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: An Overview of Some Issues. (click HERE)

    Dallas, J. 1996. Responding to pro-gay theology. (click HERE)

    Miller, D. and B. Harrab. An Investigation of the Biblical Evidence Against Homosexuality. (click HERE)